Wednesday, October 14, 2009

10 Secret Agent

TITLE: Bite Me, Your Grace
GENRE: Regency Paranormal Romance

“Mother, no!” Angelica cried.

“I cannot have you reading such trash!” Marjory Winthrop, Countess of Pendlebur, shrieked as she threw the book in the fireplace.

Angelica watched in dismay as the pages of “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman,” by Mary Wollstonecraft, curled and blackened in the flames. It didn’t matter that she’d read it enough to recite it verbatim. It killed her to see a precious book destroyed.

Her mother’s furious countenance was nearly as red as her curls. “It’s bad enough that your father turned you into a blue-stocking, with all the Plato and such he raised you on, but if anyone knew you were a radical, your reputation would be blackened beyond redemption, with all hopes of an advantageous marriage turned to dust.”

“Maybe I want my reputation to be ruined, mother.” She sobbed, “Maybe I don’t want to be a brood mare for some stupid cad while he spends my dowry on his mistresses and… Ouch!”

Marjory pinched the skin of her upper arm and hissed, “If we were not going to the Chatsworth ball tonight I would slap you. A lady does not speak of such things.” She threw up her hands, “Now stop crying immediately! I suggest you compose yourself while I fetch Liza to dress you and fix your hair.”

After her mother left, Angelica rubbed her eyes and peeked under her bed. At least her new copy of Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” was still safe. She frowned at the growing pile of books languishing alongside the dust bunnies.

19 comments:

Claire said...

I'm not a fan of Regency, but I would read this! Saucy MC.

Best of luck!

Keren David said...

What is a dust bunny? We certainly don't have them in London any more...maybe in Regency times?
I don't know, this all seems a little odd and overblown to me. Surely there was a strand of the British aristocracy which was quite happily radical...whigs, Rosebery, and all that. But maybe the oddness is because of the paranormal element to come? 'It killed her..' isn't very Regency.
Anyway absolutely love the title.

Terah said...

A little hooked. It flowed nicely and kept me entertained.

However, I can't see where this is going. I would read on to find out, but something else needs to happen fast.

Watch the repetition of blackened.

rhea said...

Love the title. It needs some editing and tightening, but I like this. I would read more.

Angie said...

First of all, I loved the title.

Maybe instead of the second blackened, use sullied or another word.

I see this is paranormal Regency, so I would read on to find out what creatures are lurking around the ballroom floor.

CassieK said...

Not hooked. Thought it was a bit too melodramatic for me and I was too thrown off by dust bunnies since I wouldn't have thought that was a term used in Regency England. You might want to check. Good luck!

Amanda said...

Also not hooked due to the melodrama, though as an English major I did perk up at the inclusion of Wollstonecraft's "Vindication." Between that and the title I can see myself potentially picking it up if I liked the cover blurb, but I don't think I'd keep reading.

Good luck, though! I think there's some potential to this.

SeaHayes said...

I like the saucy heroine and your voice. I'd keep reading for sure... Good luck!

sue laybourn said...

I'm not a great fan of regency romance, but the idea of a regency paranormal romance is very intriguing.
I agree that the language is a little too melodramatic and, in a way, slightly cliched, e.g. the use of 'cad', 'bluestocking'... the 'throwing up of hands', but that's easily sorted. I'd remove dust bunnies too, it's not even a British term, let alone early 19th century.
I'd definitely be curious to see how this story shakes out.

texcat said...

I'll take your word for it that, at some point, paranormal something-or-other will come into it, but these 250 words are such a stereotypical old regency opening, I wouldn't read on. It's just one big cliché with nothing unique to pull me onward.

And you've got to have Mother (not Marjory--she'd be Countess or Mother) pinch her BEFORE she says Ouch. Or have Angie rub the skin where Mother had just pinched, blah, blah.

Show us what's unique about your story right away or you lose us. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Great voice and I don't usually like regency stories. A few adverbs and one or more weak was verbs. Otherwise, hooked...

Barbara said...

Seems it's Mom who needs to compose herself.

And do you want your MC to start the story sobbing? You're showing her as being smarter than typical girls of her time. Might she be a bit stronger, more defiant, and less prone to tears?

If you're going for something farcical like 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' I'd say you're off to a good start. If you're going for a more serious story, then I'd suggest being sure the terms you're using are more appropriate to the time period, and less melodrama (i.e., do you really want mom shrieking?)

I'd probably pass on this one.

Anonymous said...

Darn! I forgot about to remove the "dust bunnies!" Thanks for all the great feedback.
I'd meant Marjory to be a melodramatic character, but I guess I need to find a better way of expressing that.

Lucy Woodhull said...

I have to say I enjoyed her melodrama. Some people are melodramatic, and since she's a self-taught radical, it seems natural to me to have her be a bit above herself and overblown in that way self-important smart girls can be. I was never like that, of course. Ahem. It makes her different from most Regency heroines - please don't bland her away into nothing! :) I'd keep reading for sure.

Jessica said...

I'm intrigued by the idea of Regency paranormal romance, but was too thrown off by the cliched opening (upper class girl, rebelling against her proper mother and society in general) and the little errors (dust bunnies, referring to her mother as "Marjory" in the narrative). I might read the next few pages to see if it's intentionally parodying the melodrama of Regency romances, but I wasn't that hooked.

Anonymous said...

I thought the MC was calling her mother Marjory in her head to express that they are not close. Of course, that's probably a thing modern American teenagers do rather than 19th century British ones.
Anyway, I was hooked. I think the story is light hearted and funny, sort of like Johanna Lindsey's Malory's, only with fangs. (I gather from the clever title, she meets a vampire duke?)
Would totally read more.
But I agree w' everyone else. Lose the dust bunnies LOL

Vincent Kale said...

Not my usual cup of tea but I gave it a glance when I saw 'paranormal' in the genre. However, I didn't see anything paranormal introduced in the first 250...

unless those dust bunnies are going to rise up and attack the Countess. No? Sorry, I'll have to pass.

Secret Agent said...

Everyone has their own tastes, and mine doesn't tend toward melodrama. I enjoy a good Regency, but less on the melodramatic side. So I'll just tell you that right off, so you'll know where I'm coming from.

I didn't like the shrieky dialogue that opened this up, and it made me predisposed to read very little of this before saying "no."

In the second paragraph, the long name and title of Marjory tripped me up and feels a bit awkward here.

I love a good strong heroine and a Regency feminist is a wonderful MC! But I don't like Angelica much. Heroines who are always sobbing rub me the wrong way.

I love the idea of this heroine who "wants her reputation ruined," and who's willing to stand up to her mother and her entire class and culture. That's awesome! I just don't love the way it's portrayed here.

There are a couple instances of of "telling" in this, and even these minor ones can weaken your prose.
"in dismay"
"it killed her"

I love a heroine with a growing pile of books, too!

Perhaps if this were written in a slightly less dramatic way, and if the MC didn't sob, I'd read on.

Love the idea of Paranormal Regency!

gm said...

As a fan of regency books, I enjoyed this, despite the scenario being an oft-repeated one.

However, I think the writing requires the more formal tone favoured by regencies, though I don’t know if the rules can be bent for a paranormal regency.
Lines like “It killed her to see a precious book destroyed” and the dust bunnies probably could be removed/rephrased.